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Wines and family meals


How does your family deal with the potentially tricky issue of drinking wine during regular family meals?

I’m not thinking of special occasions, or even ‘Sunday Lunch’, but rather those increasingly rare evening events where parents and children happen to sit down together for a meal.

Are you happy to pour a glass of wine with your meal with the kids at the table (presumably not drinking)? Maybe you even have an aperitif while you cook?!

My own kids are still relatively young, so we still often eat separately since they have early bedtimes and routines that make it harder to eat together, but we do try to sit together whenever we can.

I’ve seen many comments on other sites about parents being reticent to “drink in front of the kids”, and also the opposite view about how it is important to see parents drinking responsibly.

What is your take?


I don’t have children so can’t comment on drinking in front of them but my own parents definitely drank in front of me as a child at family meal times. Not so much during the week as myself and my brother obviously had different routines so would eat earlier and seperately like with your family @robert_mcintosh but definitely at weekends and on Fridays we’d stay up later so ate together. From about 7/8 my parents actually let us have our own little glasses of white wine diluted with lemonade at special occasions (and some normal Sunday lunches!) and we were always allowed a taste of what they were drinking but knew we couldn’t just crack on and help ourselves! We also were allowed a proper shandy from about 10/11 if in the pub or at home. We also often had those little bottled weak ones when on holiday, I have many a memory of being on a Spanish campsite drinking my shandy outside the tent while other kids looked on in awe and their parents slight concern/amusement! Then when I was about 15/16 onwards I was allowed proper wine at Christmas and the like but didn’t like it that much and teenage stalwarts of alcopops and cider at parties. I think because of this it’s gave me a good introduction in how to enjoy alcohol and know my limits so when I turned 18 because I’d already been “drinking” for a few years I didn’t go completely doolaly with it (minus a few blips which I’m sure we’ve all experienced! :see_no_evil:)

I think it’s definitely an interesting converstation and when I do have kids I’d probably be inclined to drink in front of them and take my parent’s approach so it so it doesn’t become a forbidden fruit to them.


Again, i can only offer a child perspective…my parents are both huge enthusiasts of craft ale, wine etc and my dad makes country type fruit wine (his sparkling pineapple is to die for) and my first taste of lager was a shandy made from his home brew. I’ve grown up never being denied a drink and they let me go through enough hangovers to become self taught in moderation.

I think I’m firmly on the typical ‘continental parent’ side of the fence!


We drink in front of, but try never to get drunk in front of the kids.

This isn’t always easy when the first bottle disappears too quickly of a rain sunday afternoon. Chances are we will usually stop drinking - then resume, if the mood fits, once they have gone to bed.


My kids are much more concerned with my browsing than my drinking habits.

In particular my middle son (9) wants to know why (as he sees it), every time he comes into my study, there is the image of a bottle of wine on my laptop screen (TWS website most probably) and why all the emails I get seem to be about wine.

He finds this hilarious.


My finest achievement to date as a parent may be that I taught my youngest daughter, when she was 8, to pour wine to the correct point in a Burgundy glass. So proud: it’s all about life skills, right?


As another child-free household I can’t offer much experience from a parent’s perspective (we drink in front of the dogs, if that counts…? :laughing: ) but I don’t see any problem with drinking a glass of wine with a meal in front of children.

Children aren’t daft, and even if you didn’t drink in front of them would notice wine bottles in the house, so the idea of hiding the act of drinking seems a bit odd to me (as long as it’s healthy amounts, what have you got to hide exactly?).

Surely far better to show them how healthy it is to have just a glass, with a meal, in a relaxed, social setting. Maybe that’s my Italian heritage talking, but it seems natural to me (in fact, I can remember firmly announcing to my family aged around 7, after stealing a sip of wine from my father’s glass, that Cotes-du-Rhone was my favourite wine… :smile: :wine_glass:)


I have two small children, therefore wine is a necessity :joy:!

As drinking wine, talking about wine and studying wine is such a big part of my life, its important that my kids understand a little about it, where it comes from and even how its made to a degree.
They’ve been to cellars in Reims, Burgundy, The Loire, breweries in Belgium and distilleries in Ireland.
I believe children knowing about wine gives them an understanding not only of what wine is, but a cultural knowledge of other countries ,regions and what in fact viticulture is.
As they get older and begin to learn about European history, their travel experiences should hopefully marry together with what they are learning and make it more interesting .
They’ve both already had ‘a sip’, . neither of them particularly liked it, but they asked, they were given and I think having an open relationship around wine and alcohol in general is paramount for kids today growing up, to hopefully reduce the incidence when they are older to binge drink on park benches.

I’m also hoping to ensure they only ever buy Mummy and Daddy decent wine when they are of drinking age :}


How incredible, Leah!
And a fantastic idea to turn it into an educational experience, and teach them a bit of the science behind how it’s made and what it is. And being informed will only mean they make more informed choices when they’re older, right? What has their reaction been so far, do they already have a preference between wine and spirits/beer in terms of the places they’ve enjoyed visiting most? :slight_smile:

Indeed! My niece and nephew were about 6 and 4 and very curious about our wine one Sunday lunchtime, and asked if they could try it. We let them have a sip, after which they both confidently announced that “wine is disgusting” and have never wanted to touch it since! :grin: So I don’t think my bad influence is rubbing off on them too much…


Haha @laura, my 2 year old was less disgusted than the 4 year old…I believe there is infact some research which suggests children under the age of 3 either like or don’t particularliy dislike the taste of alcohol as their tastebuds haven’t fully developed yet.
As for which ‘experience’ they enjoyed the most, a toss up between a little brewery in Holsbeek near Leuven as their tasting room had a whole section for kids with plenty of toys, and a cellar in Marsannay from the producer Olivier Guyot. They produced childrens colouring books and pencils free of charge to keep them occupied while we were tasting…:}!!
Happy Children =happy parents more inclined to part with money. Win win… or maybe that should be Wine Wine :joy: